[OpenDoc Announce] OpenDoc Society Intl. newsletter - 2008 number I

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Mon Feb 11 18:28:35 CET 2008

Newsletter OpenDoc Society International
2008, nr. 1

                  Published by OpenDoc Society
            Join at: http://opendocsociety.org/join

* Lotus Symphony Beta 4 with developer toolkit released
* ODF workshop in The Hague on Feb 28 2008
* Get money to do cool things with ODF
* OpenDoc Society wants to enable ODF for Microsoft customers
* OpenDoc Society Chapter guidelines progressing
* EC investigation into MS Office interop
* Commercial support company for KOffice
* NLnet foundation puts weight behind ODF
* AODL project now part of ODF Toolkit project
* New PHPODF-XSLT Document Generator
* First alpha version of ODFSVN released
* DocToText does ODF in version 0.9.0


Welcome to this first international OpenDoc Society newsletter. After a
turbulent startup there is much news to report. We wish you pleasant

                                          - the editors


* Lotus Symphony Beta 4 with developer toolkit released

On Feb 1st 2008 IBM released a new version of their Lotus Symphony
office suite [1]. Next to a number of functional improvements this is
the first version with IBM's new developers toolkit. There is a
dedicated developers page on the IBM website and a support forum for
developers. One important addition is the new capability in Symphony to
add Eclipse based plugins that can either add standalone function or
combined with the newly available API calls to create new solutions.

   [1] http://symphony.lotus.com

* ODF workshop in The Hague on Feb 28 2008

The Netherlands government programme "Netherlands in Open Connection" is
organising an ODF workshop on February 28th 2008 together with a.o.
OpenDoc Society. OpenDoc chair Bert Bakker is chairing the event. A very
rich line-up of speakers about the road ahead towards deployment of ODF
within government:

    * Machtelt Garrels (OpenDoc Society)
    * Michael Carden (National Archives of Australia)
    * Jens Jakob Andersen (National IT and Telecom Agency Denmark)
    * Martin Mollema (Bureau Forum Standaardisatie)
    * Ruud Koerts (ministerie van Binnenlandse Zaken)
    * Jeroen Visser (HollandOpen)
    * Gavin Beckett (Bristol City Council)
    * Arthur Buijs (OpenOffice.org Nederland)
    * Fabrice Mous (programma NOiV)

More information: http://www.odfworkshop.nl

* Get money to do cool things with ODF

Sun Microsystems announced a $1 Million Open Source Community Innovation
Awards Program which will foster innovation and recognize the most
interesting initiatives within open source communities worldwide. One of
the six pillars of this program is the OpenOffice.org Community
Innovation Program. Project results will fall under OpenOffice.org's
license scheme. Besides OpenDocument Format there are five other
subcategories for this awards program: Technical, Community, Tools,
Documentation and Special. Projects can be submitted until 23 June 2008.


* OpenDoc Society wants to enable ODF for Microsoft customers

As we announced by mail to you earlier this month, OpenDoc Society is
currently trying to set up a business relationship with American
software vendor Microsoft - the company behind the Windows operating
system and the Microsoft Office suite, to name a few of their products.
We want to give their customers easier access to the Open Document
format and related standards, and are eager to work together with
Microsoft to lower the barrier to become part of the ODF community.
Latest news sent to us by John Calhoon at Microsoft is that the proposal
is under investigation by the (new?) "ODF Standards group" within the
Microsoft Office team. We hope to be able to bring you good news soon,
and also hope to be able to get more information out about the exciting
implicit news that Microsoft is working actively on ODF too.

* OpenDoc Society Chapter guidelines progressing

When OpenDoc Society was launched last October, we were somewhat
overcome by the immediate response of a number of people to set up
chapters across the world. The importance of trouble free and
interoperable open standards is indeed universal. Board member and
treasurer Bob Goudriaan (Gendo) and others have been working hard to
establish the conditions based on lessons learned from similar
international organisations. Also, we are working on creating materials
for local groups to establish their own regional teams.

More information: b.goudriaan at opendocsociety.org

* EC investigation into MS Office interop

The anti-trust arm of the European Commission began formal probes
against Microsoft in two cases where it has been alleged that the
multinational firm had abused its dominant market position. One of these
probes is into the lack of compatibility of its Office suite with ODF,
the lack of information about its existing formats. This has expanded
also into the controversial way in which Microsoft acted in the
fast-track procedure it set up for OOXML via Ecma International. After
earlier questions in the European parliament about serious misuse of the
ISO/JTC1 SC34 voting system already pointed towards such an inquiry. The
Commission is investigating a complaint filed by the European Committee
for Interoperable Systems (ECIS, [1]) alleging Redmond had refused to
disclose interoperability information on a range of Microsoft products.
Similar comments have been made by others [2]. Later this month, the
national bodies will send delegates to Geneva to negotiate about the
2.500 pages of comments made on OOXML. Whatever the outcome, the shadow
of the legal threat from the EC may play a significant part in the
uptake of OOXML - especially since ODF is also able to capture the vast
majority of information present in OOXML.

[1] http://www.ecis.eu
[2] http://nlnet.nl/press/20080118-formats.html

* Commercial support company for KOffice

January 2008 saw the launch of KOfficeSource GmbH [1], a company
harbouring several key KOffice developers. The versatile KOffice [2] is
one of the upcoming contenders when it comes to novel ways of
approaching the Office paradigm. It is an open source (mostly GPL and
LGPL) and highly modular office suite built from scratch, and its
developers made (and are still making) important contributions to the
formation of the ODF standard. The next major version, KOffice 2.0, is
expected for release this summer and will support Windows, Unix and Mac

KOfficeSource, lead by Tobias Hinze, offers professional services around
the KOffice office suite, but also a product ideally suited as a
embedded rendering engine for integration into custom products working
with Office Documents. It is good to see high quality support and
training for OpenDocument deployment in companies and organizations
emerge. KOfficeSource operates from Offices in Germany, Sweden, and the

          [1] More info about KOfficeSource:

          [2] Try KOffice 2.0 Alpha 5? Download this live CD:

* NLnet foundation puts weight behind ODF

Dutch charitative venture capitalist NLnet [1] has selected the Open
Document Format as one of the two main areas it will focus its
funding on in the next year. That means it will spend a significant
amount of its 2008 annual budget on the development of (open source)
ODF tools, community building and contributing to the standards
development process of the upcoming ODF 1.2 version. "Open Document
Format is making it possible to store the majority of information we use
every day in a future proof and innovation-friendly format," says
Michiel Leenaars, strategy manager at NLnet. The foundation believes
that 2008 will see the mass breakthrough of ODF. NLnet was one of the
founding members of OpenDoc Society.

[1] http://nlnet.nl


Because ODF is a straightforward, easily parseable XML-based format, it
is easy to separate the content from the presentation. In this
newsletter we want to highlight a class of applications that deal with
extremely easy translation of ODF documents into multiple languages -
and back.

Especially outside of English speaking countries and within
international organisations and projects, much time is spent by staff
and project members on translations. How does the average person do
that? You save a copy of the text document under another name, and start
translating it by hand - sentence by sentence. The next time you are
sent an updated version of that same text (say with only 10% difference
in text), most of the time you have to redo all that work. But why
should you ever need to translate the same sentence twice? That is where
"Translation memory" comes in, and its future seems very bright indeed:
not only does the XML nature of ODF greatly lower the threshold to the
normal consumer doing casual translation, but in general the technology
is ready for prime time - it really offers a significant productivity

Recently there has been a lot of development where the type of tools in
use in professional translation environments for a number of years are
now becoming available to ordinary users - either because their prices
have dropped or they are being developed as open source. In fact much of
the software like Heartsome XLIFF translator [1], Aidtrans Studio [2],
Cafetran [3], SDL Trados [4] as well as the freely available open source
tools OmegaT [5a]  OmegaT+ [5b], Esperantilo [6] and itools [7] is able
to work directly with ODF. In addition they are able to leverage
auxiliary standards like XLIFF, TMX (Translation Memory eXchange), SRX
(Segmentation Rules eXchange) and TBX (TermBase eXchange) to
dramatically increase the effectivity and quality of frequent translations.

One interesting feature from both OmegaT and OmegaT+ is the support for
Gettext PO, still the most popular internationalisation format for
software around. So when you have a course on a specific software
product in one language, you are protected from making mistakes when
translating the dialogs and menus into another language. The same
support for both Gettext PO/MO, XLIFF and TMX can be found in itools, a
Python library which provides a wide range of capabilities. It plugs
easily into your back-end, and allows to share translations made
off-line in your documents with the website you are cutting and pasting
text in.

Of course there are several next steps. One is to use the socalled
bitext paradigm to enable hotswappable multilingual texts. The other is
to combine this type of tools with online services like
freetranslation.com [8], Google Translate [9] or
standalone tools like WebSphere Translation Server [10]. Anybody facing
multi-lingual situations can profit from earlier (investments in)
translations within the organisation - or outside [11].

[1]  http://www.heartsome.net
[2]  http://www.aidtranssoft.com
[3]  http://www.cafetran.republika.pl
[4]  http://www.translationzone.com/en/Products/translation-memory
[5a] http://www.omegat.org
[5b] http://omegatplus.sourceforge.net
[6]  http://www.esperantilo.org
[7]  http://www.ikaaro.org/itools
[8]  http://www.freetranslation.com
[9]  http://translate.google.com
[10] http://www-306.ibm.com/software/pervasive/ws_translation_server
[11] In January 2008 the European Commission released a collection of
     about 1 million sentences and their high quality translations in 22
     of the 23 official EU languages. These and others (like the
     OpenOffice translations can be found at the
     Opus Project - http://urd.let.rug.nl/tiedeman/OPUS

********* ODF for developers *************************

* AODL project now part of ODF Toolkit project

The AODL project has joined the OpenOffice.org project as part of the
ODFToolkit project. AODL is the .net module of the ODF Toolkit. AODL is
a library completly written in pure C# and can be used to extend your
.net based software to support the OpenDocument Format. To use AODL
within your projects respectively software there is no need of a deep
knowledge of the OpenDocument Format itself. AODL allows you to create
new documents in both text and spreadsheet format, load and manipulate
documents and export to HTML and PDF Format.

Project and download page: http://odftoolkit.openoffice.org/AODL

* New PHPODF-XSLT Document Generator

The ODF-XSLT Document Generator is a new library written in PHP 5 that
brings the full power of XSLT to OpenDocument files. It enables you to
use ODF files as if they were plain XSLT templates. It also includes a
few extra parsing options that allow you to edit the XSLT parts of these
ODF from within your favourite office suite. ODF-XSLT was initiated by a
Dutch company, Tribal Internet Marketing, and is released as Free
Software under the GNU General Public License, version 3.

More info and download: http://www.jejik.com/odf-xslt

* First alpha version of ODFSVN released

ODFSVN is a toolset that allows you to work and collaborate on ODF
documents in a subversion repository, i.e. under strict version control.
ODFSVN is developed in Python as an application independent tool by
Wichert Akkerman and Ed Holness (of OOoSVN fame) under a grant from
NLnet foundation. ODFSVN will ultimately allow you to use all features
of a version control system in your day-to-day workflow: all changes are
archived along with change notes, making it possible to roll back to
previous versions, see who made what changes and why, etc. More
interestingly, it makes it possible to have multiple people sharing
their changes to a document through a shared repository. That means that
you can always see all changes from all editors, update your version to
the latest revision and submit your changes. No matter where you are,
with or without access to your email, you will always be able to share
your work. ODFSVN stores all repository information in the ODF metadata,
which means that you do not need to configure anything on your system:
all necessary information is already contained in the document. The
current alpha version provides a working, command-line interface.

More info on ODFSVN: http://odfsvn.sourceforge.net

* DocToText does ODF in version 0.9.0

DocToText is a relatively unknown open source utility that can convert
Open Document Format documents as well as MS Word and RTF to plain text.
Extracting plain text from doc, rtf and odt files can be used for a lot
of things just like searching, indexing, archiving or just reading it in
text mode on a console. The code is available under the GPL, meaning
anyone can change it in any way they like as long as they keep the code
under GPL. DocToText is donated by Silvercoders, and can be used in
tandem with Silvercoders DocStorage product.

More info: http://silvercoders.com/index.php?page=DocToText

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* ODF: The Germans are doing it
  (The Hague, The Netherlands, Feb 14 2008)

* An Open or Closed Government
  (Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Feb 14 2008)

* ODF Workshop
  (The Hague, The Netherlands, Feb 28 2008)

* Standards and the Future of the Internet
  Geneva, Switzerland, Feb 25-27 2008

* International Document Freedom Day
  (March 26 2008)

* ODF at a policy level
  (Utrecht, Netherlands, 31 March 2008)

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OpenDoc Society thanks the following organisations for their support:

Gravity Zoo * Van Bussel Document Services * O3spaces * Burgerlink *
Capgemini * Sun Microsystems * Openoffice.nl * Rednose * Gendo * Novell
* NLnet * Bull * Nou&off * Squirrel consultancy * Intel * iRex
Technologies * Ontwerpbureau Dertig * Toltech * Vicus eBusiness
Solutions * Valid/Vision * Google * Morpheus * Red Dolphin * Defensie
Telematica Organisatie * Xout * Open Datacenter * Core Consult * IBM *
bsooo * Oxford Archeology * Centrum voor Wiskunde en Informatica * Livre
* Institute for Network Cultures * Hogeschool Amsterdam * Waag Society *
SGML/XML User Group * SELF * Openoffice.org * ISOC.nl * Ubuntu *
Accessibility.nl * Stichting Softwareconsulent * AEL * Syllable * De
Balie * Stichting No Papers * eLaw - Leiden University * ISOC Belgium *
KARA * Viziris * Free Knowledge Institute * Holland Open * Rack66.com *
Better Access * I.T. Works * LinuxBE.com * Itaapy * Ars Aperta *
Openbare Basisschool Rosa Boekdrukker

And also wishes to acknowledge NLnet Foundation and the Dutch Department
of Commerce for their financial contributions.
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